Mercy Ministries is blessed with volunteer advocates who represent the ministry out of passion, that sometimes comes from personal experience. One such volunteer is Johanne Starr, our advocate on the move this month, her story of how she got involved with Mercy and the joy she gets from being an advocate provides another view of people working behind the scenes to see lives transformed and hope restored.
Johanne's experience of her daughter's struggles makes her a powerful advocate for Mercy
My daughter had long struggled with eating disorders, anxiety, depression and self harm. I had desperately tried to seek help for her for many years with little success.
In 2003 John and Helen Burns had invited Nancy Alcorn to speak at their LifeWomen Conference to launch and bring the vision of Mercy Ministries to Canada. My daughter and I were at the conference and were introduced to Nancy Alcorn and her team personally.
My daughter was 15 years old and had just found out she was pregnant. Nancy – after hearing her story and history – was full of compassion and offered her a place in one of her homes immediately. Unfortunately my daughter was too anxious to be so far away from home at the time as she suffered from separation anxiety. I then realized on a personal level how critical it was to have a home nearby to reach out to desperate women in need. Fortunately, my daughter kept the baby and my grandson Sean is now eight years old.
Since that time I have watched my daughter continue to struggle with eating disorders. In 2006 she was the victim of assault and rape as a result of a break-in at our home from a perpetrator who had apparently been stalking her. Women in our community need MERCY!
For many years I cried out to the Lord as I watched all three of my daughters struggle and deal with many heart breaking issues. The scripture I would be lead to, described a home of safety, hope, compassion and love. A lighthouse for the hurting and brokenhearted!
Isaiah 32: 16-18
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness
And righteousness remain in the fruitful field
The work of righteousness will be peace
And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.
My people will dwell in peaceful habitation.
In secure dwellings and in quiet resting places.
Mercy is a safe place that unconditionally loves each woman as she works through her issues. They are committed to provide services to allow them to recognize their self-worth and prepare them to reach their full potential. It brings a hope and understanding that many have never had or felt before.
Advocacy brings Joy and Healing
As an Advocate and volunteer for Mercy Ministries it is incredibly heartwarming to hear the giggles and laughter coming from the girls as they do their fitness program with Megan[fitness director] or fellowship with one another. Megan’s smile and uplifting, encouraging words can help you through any circumstance. These young women have endured much pain and heartache! How amazing is it that they can come to a place to be free to laugh and giggle!
I had the privilege of working alongside Musu [director of marketing and development] at a conference. As I shared from my brokenness as a mother I felt healing touch my heart and soul. The staff and women at Mercy are amazing as they yield their lives to bring healing to others and to make a difference. Nicola, the Executive Director, is an amazing woman of God! She is full of love, compassion, insight and understanding! You are a changed person by just knowing her. She has a powerful anointing on her life to see lives change.
I have a passion to see women set free! It is an honor to promote Mercy Ministries to our community!